Our leaders should not lie to us

We are often lied to by our leaders and would-be leaders.   Not referring to any particular case (there are many!), here is a little verse from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — his Venetian Epigram #55 — which deals with that problem:

Sage, tun wir nicht recht?
wir müssen den Pöbel betrügen.
Sieh nur, wie ungeschickt wird,
sieh nur, wie dumm er sich zeigt.

Ungeschicht scheint er und dumm—
weil ihr ihn eben betrüget!
Seid nur redlich, und er,
glaubt nur, ist menschlich und klug.

You’ll surely agree that we’re right?
we just have to lie to the rabble.
For look at how stupid they are—
their backwardness shows all the time!

Well yes, they seem stupid and slow—
because you keep lying to them.
If you’d be honest,  believe me,
you’d see them be human and wise.


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